Global fashion retailer Gap has set out a comprehensive business strategy at an analyst meeting in New York, with international expansion outlined as one of its priorities.
Last week the retailer announced that sales across its international markets fell 13 per cent year-on-year in the five week period ending October 1st 2011, but the business yesterday reminded investors that over the whole first half of the year retail sales outside of North America actually rose 16 per cent.
Rapid expansion of Gap stores in greater China and Hong Kong is to occur in the next 12 months, from 15 to 45 outlets by the end of 2012, and the first bricks and mortar presence outside of North America for its value brand Old Navy is to open in Japan within the next 18 months.
Sports fashion brand Athleta is on course to unveil over 50 new stores by the end of 2013 and flagships stores for Banana Republic and Gap are to open in France and Hong Kong respectively later this year.
Glenn Murphy, Chairman and CEO of Gap, said: “The combination of our global strategy and formidable growth platform puts us in a strong position to expand our reach into the top 10 apparel markets worldwide.”
“In North America, we’re taking a number of steps to improve sales in the near-term, and I’m confident that with a strong management team in place, we’re well positioned for sustained growth across the business.”
Stores are being closed in the businesses core market of North America, with a target ten per cent reduction in overall retail space by the end of 2012 compared to 2007, and by the end of the following year the number of Gap stores in the region will have fallen by 34 per cent.
Promoting its other store brands will be the main emphasis going forward and the group hope to cut margins and deliver single digit revenue growth on its approximately $15 billion (£9.5 billion) revenue base.
Murphy added: “Our brand leaders and their merchants are intent on delivering consistently great product for our target customers.”